00:00 AM - October 03, 2016
The 2016 World Gold Panning Championships was a week-long celebration of El Dorado County history and culture, as more than 400 contestants from 21 different countries competed at the Fairgrounds. One of the hallmark events was on Monday and Tuesday for Mini Miners’ Days, where almost 1,500 4th-grade students from across El Dorado County visited the competition site. “Good morning. My name is Dr. Ed Manansala, County Superintendent of Schools, and I would like to welcome you to the year 1848 – the year gold was discovered, right here in El Dorado County,” he said during the opening ceremony. “Today, you will live the Gold Rush first-hand through many fun activities, and I would like to thank everyone who has worked hard to make this happen – station leaders, volunteers, sponsors, county and law enforcement agencies, community organizations, teachers, and schools.”
“My students had a great day at Mini Miners’ Day!” exclaimed Kristina Seabury, a 4th-grade teacher at Green Valley Elementary School. “One of my students said that day, ‘We have only been here for about five minutes, and this is the best field trip.’ It made me smile.”
Each student received a commemorative yellow miner bag filled with giveaways to carry their lunch and everything they collected throughout the day. Schools were assigned to “towns” named after El Dorado, Dry Diggings, Coloma, Tahoe, and others. Each town housed six stations which may have included doll making, rope making, storytelling, blacksmithing, games, tin punching, survival, origami, Historical Museum tours, the Wells Fargo stagecoach, and much more. Each student was also given the opportunity to learn how to gold pan from the experts, and every Mini Miner went home with a gold pan and vial to keep the gold they found as a keepsake. During lunch, students, teachers, and chaperones gathered under a large white tent and participated in an interactive sing-a-long and play.
Kris Meyer, a parent volunteer from Green Valley Elementary School, enjoyed the day and noted, “I was thrilled with the Green Valley 4th graders' opportunity to learn about Gold Rush history in an innovative and "hands-on" setting during Mini Miners’ Day in Placerville. Setting up "towns" with "mayors" for each school and offering six stations of activity and history was an engaging way to reveal the pioneers' way of life in California. My daughter fully enjoyed panning for gold, braiding a rope, creating origami, pounding tin for decoration, making a fabric doll, and listening to one pioneer's life story. I was impressed with EDCOE for organizing the entire two days and offering many, many 4th graders the chance to visit, learn and participate fully in the experience.”
Much inter-agency and inter-organizational collaboration created this once-in-a-lifetime experience for students. El Dorado County Sheriff, John D’Agostini, noted, ‘’Mini Miners’ Days were a tremendously rewarding aspect to El Dorado County Gold week. We enjoyed participating in keeping our children’s experience a safe one. These are the type of community events we thoroughly enjoy supporting.’’
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